It has been ten years sinceClosing the Gap began and Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), which we are a member of, has made a submission to the Close the Gap Refresh. This process is being conducted by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
CMHA is a member of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee and supports input by the Close the Gap Campaign to the Close the Gap Refresh.
The key points made in the CMHA submission in relation to mental health and well-being are:
- A more effective relationship between different sectors can be improved by the responses developed by government being led by Aboriginal and Torres Islander people, and for government and other sectors to use the responses already developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- CMHA supports the Aboriginal Community Controlled Services (ACCHS) being considered the preferred providers for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and calls on Government to ensure this is done collaboratively with the community-managed mental health sector to extend and retain the expertise that exists in the community-managed mental health sector.
- A key factor is making national policies and strategies relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. What happens at a national level and decisions made by all levels of government will trickle down and affect what happens on the ground.
- A part of examining what is working would be to include where funding for priorities is situated and what it funds. Any action plans associated with Closing the Gap should also include what specific funding and resourcing is being allocated.
- There should be indicators which either reflect or are directly about services and programs incorporating culturally appropriate practices and policies. Prosperity and well-being should also be an aspect of and referred back to in any indicators. Measurable indicators should be around social determinants of health, such as health, education, housing and racism.
The submission is available on the CMHA website and you can read it here.